Need-based study allowances to double

University of Tartu.
University of Tartu. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Needs-based study allowances will double next year, which is more than expected in the coalition agreement. Performance scholarships will stay the same.

From September, the allowances will rise from €75, €135 and €220 euros to €150, €270 and €440 euros, respectively.

This is the first time the grants have been raised since their introduction in 2014.

The doubling of support was not expected by politicians or students.

Minister of Education and Science Kristina Kallas (Eesti 200) said the nine-year-old support rates are out of date.

"In setting the rates, the state budgetary possibilities, the number of students receiving support per year, e.g. in the spring semester of 2023, needs-based student support was paid to 5,075 students, as well as what changes could be made for the beginning of the academic year without changing the law on student grants and student loans, were taken into account," Kallas said.

Marcus Ehasoo, head of the Union of Estonian Students' Unions, said the change is welcome and unexpected.

"This is still a double increase, which was not originally foreseen in the coalition agreement, but rather a one-and-a-half-fold increase," he said.

Asked if the union believes the new grants are sufficient, Ehasoo said they help students regardless of the amount.

"But certainly for the lower rates of €150 and €270, which are still below the minimum subsistence level, there is certainly a need for further discussion in the future on what options are available to help these rates as well," he said.

But Ehasoo said the €100 performance scholarships are out of date and do not give students extra incentives. He believes they should be raised in the future but said increasing the needs-based study allowances is more important.

Kallas said the priority was on raising needs-based study allowances this year


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Editor: Helen Wright

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